54 user 29 critic

The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

The story of the life and career of the early rock and roll singer, from his meteoric rise to stardom, to his marriage and untimely death.



(story), (book) | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

La Bamba (1987)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Biographical story of the rise from nowhere of early rock and roll singer Ritchie Valens who died at age 17 in a plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.

Director: Luis Valdez
Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales, Rosanna DeSoto
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The life and career of wildly controversial rock 'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis.

Director: Jim McBride
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Winona Ryder, John Doe
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Biographical story of Loretta Lynn, a legendary country singer that came from poverty to worldwide fame. She rose from humble beginnings in Kentucky to superstardom and changing the sound and style of country music forever.

Director: Michael Apted
Stars: Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Levon Helm
Elvis I (TV Movie 1979)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Biographical movie about the famous rock singer Elvis Presley.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Kurt Russell, Shelley Winters, Bing Russell
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A Los Angeles Rams quarterback, accidentally taken away from his body by an overanxious angel before he was meant to die, returns to life in the body of a recently murdered millionaire.

Directors: Warren Beatty, Buck Henry
Stars: Warren Beatty, James Mason, Julie Christie
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of singer Tina Turner's rise to stardom and how she gained the courage to break free from abusive husband, Ike Turner.

Director: Brian Gibson
Stars: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Rae'Ven Kelly
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A sadistic warden asks a former pro quarterback, now serving time in his prison, to put together a team of inmates to take on (and get pummeled by) the guards.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter
Drama | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

After serving time for manslaughter, young Vince Everett becomes a teenage rock star.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Elvis Presley, Judy Tyler, Mickey Shaughnessy
Spinout (1966)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Band singer/race driver Mike McCoy must choose between marrying a beautiful rich girl and driving her father's car in a prestigious race.

Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Elvis Presley, Shelley Fabares, Diane McBain
Comedy | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Six teenagers from New Jersey run off to go to a Beatles concert to meet their idols, despite not having tickets. Along the way, they learn new things about friendship and growing up.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Nancy Allen, Bobby Di Cicco, Marc McClure
Mask (1985)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A teenager with a massive facial skull deformity and biker gang mother attempt to live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: Cher, Eric Stoltz, Sam Elliott
Coma (1978)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When a young female doctor notices an unnatural amount of comas occurring in her hospital she uncovers a horrible conspiracy.

Director: Michael Crichton
Stars: Michael Douglas, Rip Torn, Geneviève Bujold


Cast overview, first billed only:
William Jordan ...
Amy Johnston ...
Sol Gittler (as Dick O'Neil)
Neva Patterson ...
John F. Goff ...
T.J. (as John Goff)
Jody Berry ...
Richard Kennedy ...


The musical career of rock and roll pioneer Buddy Holly is chronicled, from the days when "Peggy Sue" was "Cindy Lou", a song about his first girlfriend, to the meteoric run of "That'll Be the Day" up the charts, to his marriage, breakup with the Crickets, reunion with the Crickets, and untimely death. Written by Jason A. Cormier <wildrose@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The music you'll love forever. The man you'll never forget. The movie you must not miss. See more »


Biography | Drama | Music


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 November 1978 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

A História de Buddy Holly  »

Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was made and released around three years after its source biographical book "Buddy Holly: His Life and Music" by John Goldrosen had been first published in 1975. See more »


The Telecaster that Buddy plays at the Apollo is a mid seventies CBS model. You can clearly read the large "Telecaster" logo which was introduced when CBS bought the company from Leo Fender in the late 1960s. See more »


[first lines]
Buddy Holly: Hey, Riley, we're all plugged in and checked up... yeah, we're ready.
Buddy Holly: [to Ray Bob] Riley wants to hear you at the mike - that's the one right there; say somethin' into that mike.
Ray Bob Simmons: One, two, three, testing... one...
Buddy Holly: [to Riley] How's that sound?
Riley Randolph: All right, that's a good level, Buddy, hold it right there... Yeah, you better get ready, it's about thirty seconds till eight.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Caption shown after the end credits are over: "This film is dedicated to those who loved him first - Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence Holley, Maria Elena Holly" See more »


Referenced in The Exes: The Holly's Buddies Story (2013) See more »


Oh Boy!
Written by Sonny West (uncredited), Bill Tilghman (uncredited) and Norman Petty (uncredited)
Performed by Gary Busey
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

I was there!
4 December 2004 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

I was fortunate enough to be an extra in this movie when I was about 13 during the roller rink scenes. My junior high school drama class was invited to participate. It was a fantastic experience.

Gary Busey, Charles Martin Smith and Don Stroud played the music live, all day! As a musician, I can appreciate the tireless work and dedication these guys put in to their roles. They must have played those songs 20 times. It's very difficult to maintain consistency and energy under those conditions. This is visible during a cut to a close-up on "That'll Be the Day," but fortunately the unsuspecting public probably wouldn't have picked it up.

Skating around all day, getting the day off from school and being transported back in time was a incredible thrill. I also had my first "date" on film. I had to walk a girl up to the ticket booth. Woo hoo! Even with an out-of-date haircut and hot lights melting the vaseline in my hair, it was still worth it. Fun stuff.

The movie is top notch and is highly satisfying as a whole. Busey delivers his best role ever and the supporting cast is superb. I'm glad to have participated in a great film of the day. To think I could have been in Corvette Summer or something. Not.

A funny ironic ending to this is that years later I was in a video store in Malibu looking at the movie the week it was released on video. Gary Busey walked in and stood right next to me. I showed him the cover and babbled on how great he was and how I was an extra and whatnot. Pretty weird, but very cool, for what it's worth.

33 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The Real Buddy Holly Story tubescreamer-1
Marshall Crenshaw would have been perfect jja11576
How Buddy Might Have Been Now davidreynolds22
Buddy Holly's Child TV_and_MovieFan
gary busey...good? sixgunbuddyguy
Ritchie Valens madhouse_495
Discuss The Buddy Holly Story (1978) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page